We’ve talked before about how Valorant has been making big numbers on Twitch spurred mostly by beta keys being dished out for watching streams, but an Engadget interview with Valorant’s head of marketing Nikki Lewis has dived deeper into the rabbit hole of using Twitch streamers as a marketing platform for the shooter, confirming, among other things, that streamers of the game are getting no money for their broadcasts:
“During closed beta, we have not paid any streamer to stream Valorant. Our goal is to sustain a community for years, even decades, to come, and so our efforts are being put toward building a long-lasting relationship with streamers, looking for things that are of value where we can support the businesses they are trying to build.”
As for what those long-lasting relationships will involve, it mostly deals with exclusives including in-game perks, access to the Valorant devs, promotional support, and even inclusion in reveals. Valorant also continues to benefit via getting feedback from streamers, who often have a pulse on what players want and what improvements should be made to the game.
And the quid pro quo is working: Fortnite World Cup runner-up Harrison “psalm” Chang, Fortnite streamer Jake “Poach” Brumleve, and Overwatch pro player John “Wanted” Lin have all confirmed their move to more Valorant content, with Brumleve decrying Epic Games’ treament of the Fortnite competitive scene.
Bear in mind that Valorant’s own esports strategy right now is mostly hands-off, simply writing a set of guidelines for third parties to follow.
“The reason we’ve been popular with streamers is that we’re oriented toward getting to know them, having deeper relationships with them, understanding their feedback about the game, playing the game with them,” argues Lewis in the interview. “We’ve got a lot of our developers out there playing with influencers and just sort of just bear-hugging them and welcoming them in. That was an explicit marketing strategy of ours.”
This isn’t to infer that Twitch streamers are victims in all of this. Many streamers have leveraged viewers’ desire for keys by running 24/7 broadcasts, thereby seeing their viewership numbers balloon in the process. This seems to sow further problems, with channel communities full of key resellers instead of fans as well as pushing away other streamers who regularly go live. Incidentally, the key reselling market for Valorant is also booming, with some keys selling for as much as $150.